A gaming company has been fined more than 386,000 euros for violating Anti-Money Laundering Rules.
The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) said Online Amusement Solution Limited did not report suspicious activity on gambling sites or properly monitor politically exposed players. Based in Birkirkara, the company owns several betting sites, including Champions Bet, Tip Bet, and Bet 14. After an on-site inspection of this institution in 2019, it was fined 386,567 Euros for violating the anti-money laundering rules.
16 Suspicious Player Profiles Flagged
FIAU has announced that its officials have identified 16 player profiles that exhibit trading patterns and betting behaviors that require investigation. However, officials said it was clear that the company did not scrutinize players' transactions effectively and carefully.
As no automated monitoring was available in the company, the company was unable to determine when the industry-wide threshold of €2,000 was reached and consequently was unable to implement effective monitoring. Basic due diligence checks must be performed under Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws if a player deposits between €2,000 – €15,000.
Although the company's money laundering officer said that players were demanding their tax returns, 80% of the requests went unanswered. In addition, the players' accounts at the gaming company were not closed in time, and the operator did not provide any evidence, although it said it looked at the players' social media profiles.
Among the suspicious behavior that was not properly monitored was a 25-year-old player who had withdrawn over 117,000 Euros after betting with prepaid cards. The FIAU found that the player made about 68 deposits using prepaid cards in just one month. The risky behavior should have prompted the company to perform enhanced ongoing monitoring on this player and to identify and verify the source funding the player's gaming activity.
Stolen Credit Card Detected
In another case, a 23-year-old player using a wallet account deposited over €10,000 in about two months. The company suspended the game account after receiving information that the player had deposited funds into their wallet account using a stolen credit card. However, it could not prevent this situation as it did not do advanced monitoring before. The company did not prepare a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) about the transaction and notified FIAU, despite receiving the information that one of its players used a stolen credit card.
Political Exposed Person (PEP) Players
The company also lacked in identifying the risks of users with Political Exposed Persons (PEP). The FIAU found that the PEP measures were not in line with Maltese legislation, but the checks consisted solely of checking new players against a document listing Greek ministers. Therefore, if a player were to be PEP throughout the employment relationship, the player's new status would not be defined. Authorities conducting the investigation also found no record of the PEP screening undertaken.
While FIAU reviewed the company's customer risk assessments, 26 of 31 player profiles reviewed by investigators found other issues without risk assessment. The only risk assessments found were by another company operating under a Greek license. Although the company has documented policies, FIAU has not found any evidence of a client acceptance policy.
As a result of the work done by FIAU, other shortcomings of the company were also revealed; it either did not comply with most of the regulations or had serious shortcomings. As a result, the company had to pay a fine of €386,000.
Easily Comply With Regulations Protect Yourself From Fines
Governments and regulators have strict Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) regulations for the gaming and gambling industry. Gambling companies must comply with these regulations in countries where the Gaming and Gambling industry is legal (e.g., Malta). So what do these regulations basically include; By the regulations, the identity checks of the customers should be made, and the risks should be determined at the customer onboarding process. In addition, the customers' transactions should be monitored, and suspicious transactions should be reported to the competent authority. Due to the dynamic nature and strict regulations, companies may have challenges in compliance. At this point, Sanction Scanner has end-to-end solutions for companies.
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